The Gannett Foundation announced last week that it will fund a $15-million journalism studies center at Columbia University, after considering Harvard and two other schools for the grant.
Gannett did not only look at the academic reputations of the four schools competing for the grant, said Marilyn A. Stein, vice president of communications for the foundation, which was founded to promote journalism education.
She added that close affiliation with a journalism school and location in a major media center were also important qualifications.
The University of Chicago and Northwestern University also vied for the grant.
"Gannett contacted us to indicate that it was thinking of locating its new center in Cambridge," said Institute of Politics Director Jonathan Moore, who met last fall with Gannett representatives to discuss the possibility.
Moore said that the Gannett representatives were interested in finding out what access to Harvard programs and facilities the center would enjoy were it located in Cambridge.
"The center's value to Harvard wouldn't have been clear until the center had been established," said Moor.
He added that Harvard's new Institute of Press and Public Policy at the Kennedy School focuses on the interaction between politics and the media.
"Our priorities are not unrelated to but are quite different from those of the Gannett Foundation," Moore said.
According to Stein, the center at Columbia will offer an advanced research fellowship program for scholars, continuing education seminars for journalists, and a laboratory for experiments with modern communications equipment.
Frederick H. Knubel, Columbia's director of public information, said he feels Columbia's Journalism School will benefit from the center, which will be located on the university's main campus.
"Students in the Journalism School can take part in some of the meetings and seminars at the Gannett Center, and the scholars who come to the center and the faculty of the Journalism School will interact," he said.
The Gannett Center, which will be headed by Everette E. Dennis, currently dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon, will open in the fall of 1984 and will be fully operational by the fall of 1985.